When you or someone you love receives the news that he or she has cancer, it turns your world upside down. No doubt. Of course I have had it in my family and so many of us are touched by this illness. I recently found out a friend of mine has breast cancer, so it put me into action. We are asked to make very fast decisions about many aspects of our health, so since I teach lifestyle change, let’s talk about some things you can do immediately to support yourself or your loved one.
Our Emotions, Our Daily Habits and Our Nutrition
The emotions that surround the news of cancer are so varied. We each have our own beliefs and reactions. Mood swings are very normal– sadness, loss and fear are all part of this. Certainly at first it is very hard to acknowledge these feelings and denial can also be a part of this journey. So acknowledgement of whatever you are feeling is where to start. Sorting it all out takes time and it takes support.
Many times our friends and family reach out to us for support and care. So often people feel like they don’t know what to say, and the kind gestures are welcome. But we also know sometimes people are misguided in their words, but not in their intent, so again acknowledgement is a key factor to navigating the emotional journey that is part of this process.
Consider the writing process to calm emotions.
Writing down your feelings help acknowledge what you are feeling. So often it is a roller coaster ride, and those that are diagnosed and those that are supporting a cancer patient need outlets to create and to understand what is happening both emotionally and physically. It also allows you to look back and see your changing emotional landscape. Just a simple notebook where you can write a few moments each day brings peace. It threshes out emotions and helps you manage your feelings.
Our Daily Habits Matter
Some questions to ask yourself after your diagnosis…..
- Who is a daily part of your life? What role do they play? Do they love and support you?
- What tasks do you perform daily? Are they necessary for you right now? What can you take a look at to eliminate to make life easier for you at this time?
- Are you working? What is your job like for you every day and are there changes you can make to allow you to focus on your health and well being?
The focus should be on you.
These are all very important facets of your life. One of the aspects of health and vitality is your social structure. Quite often we focus on the love and care of others and turning inward can be very difficult. Now is the time to care for you. Take stock and inventory of every daily step you take. What matters most to you? What will create a loving environment so that you can focus on your body, mind and spirit? Your support structure is everything.
Create a space for yourself that limits distractions and stress. Identify the biggest points of stress for you in your daily life. Who can you enlist to help? What can you do to focus solely on you? Really start to consider your needs and what you value and ask those that support you to help you create that perfect space for you.
Take your nutrition in your own hands. It's very practical.
Your vitality, your strength and your immunity is more important than ever. There are some simple steps you can take to create a healthy diet as you implement your medical plans. Evaluate your pantry, your refrigerator and most importantly what others around you are choosing to eat each and every day. Eating healthy, nutritious food will support your physical and your emotional health.
Raw foods bring light and life to the body.
Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet will bring powerful cancer fighters into your body to get to work. These highly pigmented foods are warriors for your immune system. What foods are you consuming now? What is easy for you to add into your diet? Salads are super potent and easy to prepare. Here are some pointers about your cancer-fighting bowl of leafy greens:
- Choose a variety of fresh, colorful vegetables at their peak flavor, like dark green kale, red bell peppers, orange carrots, and red onions.
- Pick your salad dressing wisely. I have a number of delicious and healthy options in the salad section of our recipe library.
- Experiment with parsley, garlic, oregano, basil, chives, rosemary, thyme, and other herbs; sprinkle them on your salad or add them to a simple vinaigrette made with cold pressed avocado oil.
- Add variety to your salad with high-fiber, lower calorie items like beans, raw vegetables, and fresh fruit.
- Most of all, go for easy. What vegetables do you like to eat? What is easy to find and prepare?
Vegetable juicing and blender drinks also give your body a big boost.
If you decide to juice, make it a vegetable juice with only a small amount of fruit. It gives you the biggest bang for your buck and keeps your blood sugar balanced. Blender drinks are also a great way to add powerful foods into your diet. Blend up dark veggies like kale and spinach with tropical fruits or berries for a delicious and nutritious treat any time of the day. Again check out the recipe library for more great ideas.
Adding raw food to your daily palate allows your body to heal and gives you clean energy. Begin the process of adding healthy foods to your diet so that your body and your mind will be at its best.
Honor yourself and start slow.
There are so many things happening when you or someone you love receives a diagnosis of cancer. There are just so many different emotions and concerns swirling around. Know that even when things seem the most trying and difficult, every person needs a village– a support system to help the patient thrive. Remember to ask for help if you need it, whether you are the patient or a friend or family member. Most of all, it is important for the person to be in charge of the diagnosis, so setting forth a plan of action is important to create the healthy environment every cancer patient needs. There is a link to an article below that gives more information on where a cancer patient can find more emotional support. Just click on the button below.